Dustin Johnson holds off Li Haotong challenge to win inaugural Saudi International

Dustin Johnson endured a roller-coaster back nine but birdies on the last two holes at the Royal Greens handed him a two-shot win in the inaugural Saudi International on Sunday. (Getty Images)
Updated 03 February 2019

Dustin Johnson holds off Li Haotong challenge to win inaugural Saudi International

  • 34-year-old American closed with a three-under 67 to finish on 19-under par
  • Despite missing out on glory, Haotong was delighted with his performance

LONDON: Dustin Johnson endured a roller-coaster back nine but birdies on the last two holes at the Royal Greens handed him a two-shot win in the inaugural Saudi International on Sunday.
The 34-year-old American closed with a three-under 67 to finish on 19-under par, two better than his playing partner for the day Li Haotong, who made a birdie on the last to secure a solo second placed finish.
Despite missing out on glory, Haotong was delighted with his performance in the Kingdom and was gracious in defeat.
“It was a very good match (with DJ), especially on the front nine,” he said.
“On the back nine, I was just a little off today and it wasn’t my best game there. But I’ve learned a lot and the last few holes were good for me.
“I think (Dustin) deserved to win this event.”
England’s Tom Lewis (65) made a spirited charge, but after making five birdies in his first five holes, he ran out of steam and finished third.
Australia’s Min Woo Lee, younger brother of LPGA Tour star Minjee Lee, shot a second successive round of seven-under par 63 in only his second start as a professional to finish fourth, one shot behind Lewis. Frenchman Alex Levy was fifth.
Lewis was particularly happy with his showing in Saudi Arabia. 
“It shows that I can go low over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday period. Hopefully, if I can just start better in some tournaments, and then carry on doing what I’m doing when I do shoot 1-over, then maybe I’ll walk away with a trophy,” he said.
Playing in the final group after starting the day tied on 16-under par, Johnson and Li were neck and neck after eight holes with one birdie to show in their rounds. But Li moved ahead with a chipped-in birdie from a difficult position on the ninth to take a one-shot lead into the back nine.
It took a lipped-out par putt from less than two feet on the par-4 10th hole to finally wake up Johnson. He hit a brilliant tee shot on the par-3 11th to tap-in distance to catch up with Li, and then made a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 12th to edge ahead by a shot.
The advantage doubled on the long and tough par-4 13th hole when Li made a bogey from the greenside bunker and followed it up with another on the 14th hole.
But there was more drama to come. Johnson hit his tee shot into the Red Sea on the picturesque par-3 16th hole. He did manage to make a 15-foot putt to avoid a double bogey and the lead was down to one shot going into the final two holes.
Johnson managed to birdie both, while Li could not convert his on the 17th after hitting a wild tee shot.


Removed Qatari president of Malaga C.F. owes club $10m: Court papers

Updated 18 September 2020

Removed Qatari president of Malaga C.F. owes club $10m: Court papers

  • Al-Thani was temporarily removed by a judge on Feb. 19
  • He bought the C.F. in 2010

MALAGA: Qatari businessman Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani, who was removed as president of Spanish football club Malaga on charges including the alleged misappropriation of funds, owes the club 8.5 million euros ($10.07 million), court papers have revealed.

Al-Thani, who bought Malaga C.F. in 2010, was temporarily removed by a judge on Feb. 19 and judicial administrator Jose Maria Munoz has been running the business since.

Spanish court documents relating to the ongoing case, claim that Al-Thani and his family took additional money out of the club during their ownership for their personal use.

On Tuesday, a judge placed an 8 million-euro bond on him after the Association of Small Shareholders of Malaga C.F. (APA) requested bail be increased from 5.4 million to 11.7 million euros.

When Al-Thani took over the club, the team was playing in Spain’s top-flight La Liga after winning promotion in the 2008/2009 season. However, financial difficulties led to the club selling a number of key players and in 2018 the team was relegated to the second tier of Spanish football.

The APA filed a complaint against Al-Thani for “improper management, misappropriation of funds, and imposition of abusive corporate agreements.”

Al-Thani and his sons Nasser, Nayef, and Rakkan were dismissed from their roles as president and members of the board of directors, respectively, and were given five days to lodge an appeal against the ruling. But a court in Malaga rejected their appeal to end Munoz’s judicial administration.

Munoz has been managing the day-to-day running of the club, but still has to run any major decisions by the judge first.

On Jan. 22, Spanish authorities seized computers and documents during a search at Malaga’s La Rosaleda stadium. The APA requested the immediate seizure of Al-Thani’s assets, but its application was turned down by the court on the grounds that such a move would be premature.

Antonio Aguilar, the APA’s president, told Arab News that the group “only wants justice to be done. Malaga C.F. has 3,000 shareholders and this man (Al-Thani) cannot do what he wants.”

Al-Thani has continued to issue statements through his lawyers relating to the case and responding to allegations made by APA members.

“He hired an advertising agency, and in Malaga people are getting more and more indignant with the statements,” said Aguilar.

The club’s fans are also outraged, and Aguilar added: “He (Al-Thani) left the club on the verge of disappearance. If the judge had not intervened, appointing a judicial administrator, Malaga C.F. would have disappeared on April 30.”